Ibibio Sound Machine – “Give Me a Reason” (Singles Going Steady)

Lagos meets London in an explosion of retro color and sound on Ibibio Sound Machine's "Give Me a Reason".

Adriane Pontecorvo: A master drummer once said that if you can hear a song without it making you dance, you are sick. Hearing “Give Me a Reason”, it’s easy to understand just what he meant. On the second single off of British-Nigerian band Ibibio Sound Machine’s upcoming sophomore album, Lagos meets London in an explosion of retro color and sound. They’ve moved forward a decade since we last heard them, exchanging highlife influences for funky Afrobeat. Singer Eno Williams commands attention with both her voice and her moves, while the electronics pay more than a little tribute to the Talking Heads. “Give Me a Reason” has nothing but grooves; it’s the ultimate feel-good music, and it’s almost impossible to listen to it without jumping up and getting down. [10/10]

Chris Ingalls: A wonderful stew of genres. African rhythms, contemporary dance beats, high-octane lead guitar, lots of retro-new wave synths, and there’s one common thread running through the song: it’s a whole lot of fun and deserves to be repeatedly played at high volume. Endlessly energetic and tuneful and at just over three minutes, it’s all gone too soon. [9/10]

Steve Horowitz: Okay, I admit I have no idea what the singer is singing about, yet she does give me a reason to believe she finds purpose in rhythms. The accompanists create a danceable groove that suggests moving one’s body is reason enough for the song to exist. This is tight, but maybe a little too constrictive for its own good. Being tough and forceful may make the track metrical — and the group is literally a sound machine, but the cadence needs to vary some to let the human element reveal itself. [6/10]

Paul Carr: Ibibio Sound Machine spin classic African funk and disco together with modern electronic flourishes. It’s a busy, carefully managed balancing act which works a treat. The P-funk bassline is buffed with shimmering disco keyboards and new wave synths leaving a song that shares giddy, rhythmic similarities with Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough”. [7/10]

Mike Schiller: There are so many different eras and genres mashed in here that it’s hard to know where to begin. Disco, synthpop, rock ‘n’ roll, and rhythms that likely stem from the West-African influence the band so proudly flaunts all mash together into something perfectly dance-ready and utterly infectious. There are energy and conviction here that’s impossible to fake. Add neon 1990 visuals to the mix that suggest that Ya Kid K could show up at any second, and it’s a recipe for a three-minute-long grin. [8/10]

SCORE: 8.00